Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 21, 2014
President Obama and Congressional Democrats’ recent attempts to take away Americans’ handguns didn’t work very well, as several U.S. gun makers produced a record number of firearms in 2012.
According to data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, more than 8.57 million guns were produced in 2012, an increase of more than 2 million guns from the year before. Sturm Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. produced the most weapons in 2012, the data showed.
The ATF, which has tracked gun production for nearly 30 years now, also found that almost as many guns – 26.1 million – were produced during President Barack Obama’s first term as during the entire eight-year presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate have attributed the increase in gun production to Americans’ concerns that Democratic presidents are more likely to limit gun sales in the U.S. than Republicans. While the president managed to keep the gun control debate under the radar for the majority of his first term in office, Obama pushed unsuccessfully last year for stricter national gun control laws in the wake of tragedies in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo.
“Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry,” Dave Workman, senior editor of the pro-Second Amendment publication Gun Mag, told Bloomberg News. “The greatest irony of the Obama administration is that the one industry that he may not have really liked to see healthy has become the healthiest industry in the United States.”
Although Congress didn’t pass any gun control legislation last year, the president signed into law nearly two-dozen executive actions on gun violence. Several states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, also passed their own gun control laws in 2013.
Incidentally, the gun manufacturers couldn’t produce guns fast enough, as gun sales were at an all-time high as well. Smith & Wesson reported record sales last June, bringing in $588 million during fiscal year 2012, a 43 percent increase from 2011. Sturm Ruger reported net sales of $506.4 million during the first nine months of 2013 – a 45 percent jump from the same period in 2012, according to Bloomberg News. The Connecticut-based company also saw its profits increase 67 percent, manufacturing more than 1.6 million guns in 2012 according to the ATF data.
Both companies recently announced that they would no longer sell guns in California after the state began to enforce a new law requiring that all guns sold in the state feature microstamping technology that allows law enforcement officials to track the bullet back to the gun it was fired from. Earlier this week, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey introduced a bill that would require personalization technology be installed in guns so only the weapon’s owner can use it.
Even before the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, Americans feared that Obama would push for increased gun control laws during his second term. The Daily Telegraph reported in November 2012 that the number of background checks on people applying to buy guns increased by nearly 20 percent in October 2012, in anticipation of Obama’s re-election.
A similar gun production pattern happened during President Bill Clinton’s presidency as well, as more than 33 million firearms were manufactured during his presidency, according to Bloomberg News. A gun control proponent, Clinton signed into law legislation that mandated background checks on firearm purchases and an assault weapons ban. The latter expired in 2004, and many Democratic legislators have unsuccessfully attempted to revive it since.